A patient with lung cancer is at risk for significant distress. Graves et al identified factors which can help to identify a lung cancer patient who is at risk for significant distress. The authors are from Georgetown University, University of Kentucky and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.


Lung cancer is associated with more distress than most other tumors.


Risk factors for significant distress in a patient with lung cancer:

(1) younger age

(2) female gender

(3) difficult family or personal relationships

(4) pre-existing anxiety, depression or other emotional problems

(5) lack of information about the disease, treatment or options (associated with a sense of being powerless)

(6) significant disability (poor physical functioning)

(7) impaired cognition


Other factors which may contribute to distress:

(1) lack of social support

(2) poor coping

(3) difficult symptoms (pain, fatigue, etc)

(4) economic problems


All patients with lung cancer should be screened for distress throughout the course of their disease.


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